A new musical tribute to the first moon landing fastens a brand with Apollo history to a catchy hook.
Velcro Companies, which made the hook and loop fasteners that astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins used on their 1969 Apollo 11 mission, commissioned a new cover of the rock song "Walking on the Moon" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic moonwalk.
The new single and its accompanying music video, released Thursday (July 11), features the aptly-titled, indie pop band Walk Off the Earth using Velcro fasteners as an instrument to add a unique sound to the song.
"Everyone knows the sound of a Velcro Brand hook and loop closing and being pulled apart," Bob Woodruff, CEO of Velcro Companies, told collectSPACE.com in an interview. "It is such a recognizable sound. It is our sound."
The Velcro fasteners also provided the band with a unique solution to simulating weightlessness on Earth.
"The strength, durability and versatility of Velcro Brand fasteners allowed us to stretch our creativity for this music video and deliver an eye-popping way to celebrate this incredible milestone," Gianni Nicassio of Walk Off the Earth said in a statement. "Working with Velcro Companies to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of mankind's biggest achievements was an incredible opportunity to do something fun with the iconic Velcro Brand products."
In the video, Nicassio and three other band members wear Apollo Mission Control-inspired outfits — white button-down shirts and skinny ties — while Sarah Blackwood dons a costume spacesuit. Velcro Brand One-Wrap straps, Industrial Strength tapes and Easy Hang straps are used to attach and detach a ukulele, fill the sky with glowing stars and enable Blackwood to perform a spacewalk, of sorts.
"Holy cow! It has been 50 years since we landed on the moon, that's crazy!" Blackwood proclaims at the end of the video. "We had such a blast working with Velcro Brand on this video."
On July 16, 1969, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins lifted off inside an Apollo spacecraft outfitted with Velcro hook and loop fasteners to keep their checklists in place, their stowage bags closed and their freeze-dried food packs from floating away. They even launched with extra Velcro pieces to use as needed.
"So we obviously have to hold these in place in zero g, so we make use of the Velcro patches on the back and on the table so we can attach these down here," explained Aldrin, describing the data cue cards used on board the lunar module "Eagle," during a TV broadcast on the third day of the mission.
Once on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969, Aldrin and Armstrong wore spacesuits with Velcro strips.
"We were there!" Woodruff told collectSPACE. "I think everyone who works at the company today, 50 years later, is really super proud of that legacy."
"I can remember as a kid watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take those first steps and on the outside of Aldrin's spacesuit was this watch which was secured with Velcro Brand hook and loop," said Woodruff. "So we're very proud."
Velcro Companies worked with NASA to develop a range of hook and loop fasteners that met the needs of the Apollo moon missions. Velcro Brand products are still used on NASA spaceflights today aboard the International Space Station.
"There is a such a deep level of pride to be able to authentically put this out there in the public domain," said Woodruff. "If we helped put men on the moon, the feeling is to speak to consumers today, we can make their lives a little bit easier. Velcro Brand stands for durability, quality and reliability. That was the story 50 years ago on the moon and it is the same story today in your garage or organizing the cables to your laptop."
Velcro fasteners that were flown to the moon can be seen among the Apollo 11 artifacts displayed by the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, including Armstrong's spacesuit, which is returning to exhibit after 13 years off display on Tuesday (July 16).
"Walking on the Moon" was originally recorded by the band The Police in 1979. The music video for that version was filmed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with band members Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland performing next to the display of a retired Saturn V rocket. The video also features archival film clips from the Apollo 11 mission.
Velcro Companies is among a number of brands that have produced tributes to the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, including Budweiser, Case Knives, Dairy Queen, Krispy Kreme, Lego, Oreo, Omega, Zero Halliburton and Zippo.
"There are other brands that are celebrating the 50th anniversary, but I think few have the legacy and deep connection we do to the space program, to Apollo 11 and to NASA," said Woodruff.
Click through to collectSPACE to watch Velcro Companies’ “Walking on the Moon” music video featuring Walk Off the Earth.
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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.